View Full Version : Local News New effort to get recess back at Chicago public grammar schools

04-06-2011, 10:06 AM
This from the Chicago Sun-Times (http://www.suntimes.com/news/education/4680337-418/new-effort-to-get-recess-back-at-chicago-public-grammar-schools.html) by Rosalind Rossi:
After a 38-year hiatus, recess advocates are hoping a perfect storm is finally brewing to bring recess back to most Chicago public grammar schools.

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said Tuesday she favors having all elementary school teachers consider moving their lunch from the end of the day to the middle, when kids could then have recess — a switch that could extend the school day for kids by 45 minutes in those schools without lengthy recesses.

Recess “is good for kids and it’s good for teachers,” who lunch and confer together during it, Lewis told the Chicago Sun-Times. “That’s a win-win.”

Chicago Public Schools officials say they support recess — although a task force they formed has mostly helped schools add just 10-minute recesses.

Meanwhile, parent, legislative and even White House support is growing for recess, which has seen cutbacks around the nation in schools under pressure to test well.

In Chicago, the Raise Your Hand parent coalition tonight kicks off a series of instructional seminars for parents on how to restore recess to the two-thirds of Chicago public elementary schools that, at last count, don’t have it regularly.

In Illinois, a legislative task force is due to start discussing how to implement recess statewide. And in Washington, D.C., Chicago-born first lady Michelle Obama has been pushing recess, saying it helps kids stay fit.

Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel wants Chicago kids to have a longer school day and said Monday he’s ready to go to Springfield if necessary to get it.

But Raise Your Hand parents note that in most cases, Chicago schools without recess can add 45 minutes to the school day for kids — without costing a dime — merely by moving teachers’ lunch to the middle of the day. Under that model, the new, mid-day 45-minute block can be split between recess and lunch.

The switch would not add instructional minutes, Lewis noted, but research indicates it would help kids learn better during the class time they do have.

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